We hams can be quite opinionated when it comes to our radios.
After Yaesu announced last week that it was discontinuing production of the FT-818ND, hams across the globe expressed their opinions about this pint-sized rig.
It seemed to me that the majority who posted messages in email groups and on social media had high praise for the FT-817/818. Indeed, many of those same people purchased an FT-818ND the same day of the announcement. The rush of FT-818ND purchases wiped out new inventory at most US retailers overnight.
Not everyone had praise for the FT-817/818 series, though. Many felt the ‘818 was a relic of the past and irrelevant in 2023. Some even posted long “good riddance” rants about the FT-818.
Let’s face it…
Our love of radios is highly subjective
What one person loves, someone else might hate. This is especially the case in the incredibly diverse ham radio world where radios are used in different parts of the spectrum, with different modes, for different activities, and in different operating environments.
I’ve never worked for a radio manufacturer, but I have friends and contacts who do. I also alpha and beta test gear for various ham radio manufacturers. On occasion, I’ve even been in the loop from the preliminary stages of product design as a manufacturer sought confidential input.
What I’ve learned is that, even for legacy radio manufacturers, each new product is a calculated risk. Several points have to be addressed and assessed.
- Market niche: Is the new product unique enough that it carves out its own niche?
- Innovator: or is the new product a major leap in innovation that would would make it more competitive over other similar products. In other words, could it be a market “disruptor”–? (FYI: the FT-817 was very much a market disruptor in 2001.)
- Price: Can the new product be built in a way that the manufacturer has a sustainable profit margin and competitive price point? Transceivers, in general, have thin profit margins compared to, say, radio accessories.
- Parts availability: Are the new radio’s critical internal components carefully sourced so that if one becomes obsolete, a replacement can be used without substantially modifying the radio design? Are there multiple options for key components?
- Performance: Can the new radio be built to a spec that makes it competitive in terms of performance.
- Leverage: Is there a way to leverage existing radio design to cut down on R&D costs?
These are just a few of the questions a manufacturer must consider before investing in the development of a new product.
If it can’t be profitable, it’s not worth producing.
Why did the FT-817/818 have such a long market life?
Simply put: it was, from the very beginning, unique, versatile, functional, and (importantly) affordable.
The FT-817, when introduced in 2001, was a game-changer. Up to that point, there were no mass produced QRP transceivers that had an internal battery option, with general coverage, and sported VHF/UHF multi-mode operation. It was designed to be rugged, small, and versatile. The FT-817 delivered all of this from day one for under $700 US (in 2021 money).
There still is no direct equivalent to the FT-817/818 as I post this in January 2023. The only widely-available HF QRP transceiver on the market that also sports VHF and UHF multi-mode operation is the Icom IC-705 which has a much broader feature set and costs roughly double that of the Yaesu FT-818ND.
If you’re interested in a deeper dive on this topic, check out my recent article, “The enduring Yaesu FT-817 and FT-818 series transceivers.”
My dream FT-818ND replacement?
As I’ve said earlier: your enjoyment of a radio has everything to do with your own operating style. It is highly subjective.
The most comments I’ve seen from readers is they’d like to see Yaesu come out with an Icom IC-705 killer: an affordable HF/VHF/UHF SDR radio with a color touch screen, spectrum display, high performance receiver, built-in sound card, and wireless connectivity. All that in a field-rugged body. Basically, something that looks and acts like the IC-705, but even better and for a lower price point.
Frankly, that’s a lofty goal, especially in 2023 when production and component costs are so high.
While I think a Yaesu “IC-705” would be a really cool radio, it actually doesn’t tap the same market as the Yaesu FT-818ND; those same customers who made the FT-817/818 a cash cow for Yaesu for more than two decades.
I know because I am in that market.
I don’t personally want another IC-705. I want a radio that is more akin to the FT-818, but with enhanced features and performance. If I could hire Yaesu to make an FT-818 replacement just for me (keeping it relatively realistic) here’s what it would be:
- As rugged as the FT-818 with the addition of waterproofing or some sense of dust/weather sealing
- Current consumption closer to 100-130 mA in receive
- Built-in sound card for digital modes and USB-C connectivity
- Built-in automatic ATU
- Built-in USB-C rechargeable battery pack
- Variable filter widths
- CW and SSB message memories
- QSK with PIN Diode switching
- Better SSB audio controls (EQ, compression, etc.)
- A receiver front-end at least as robust as the FT-818
- Up to 10 watts output power
- Chassis attachment points for third party fames/cages, etc.
- A price point below $1,000 US
If I had to drop one of the options above to keep the price point below $1,000, I would drop the internal ATU.
Basically, I would want a radio that is built for field deployment, flexibility, and utility. Think a Yaesu version of the Discovery TX-500 but with VHF and UHF.
Truth is, we can dream up ideal radios for manufacturers to produce, but they can only do this if there’s a healthy market for them. They must make money.
Love it or hate it, the FT-817/818 was a profitable series for Yaesu.
The QRP field radio market is actually quite a competitive space. All of Yaesu’s latests radio designs have focused more on high-performance, contest-grade receiver architecture in a 100+ watt package. All of their latest radios have sported a version of their hybrid SDR design and a color touch screen display. Performance is benchmark (just look at the top five radios on Rob Sherwood’s table).
To be very clear, I have no inside information here. I have no idea if Yaesu is working on a new QRP radio.
I can’t help but think, though, that Yaesu would want to dip their toes, once again, in the QRP field radio market. With POTA and SOTA operation on the rise, I’m sure there’s temptation to tap that market again.
I would hope, though, that Yaesu might stick with the DNA of the FT-818 and 817 and merely improve a good thing.
At least, that’s my opinion and I will respect your point of view.
What do you think?
If you could influence the design of an FT-818 replacement, what features would it have? What would the price point be? Would it have a similar form factor?
Consider sharing your vision in the comments as I will send this post to Yaesu in the near future.
50 thoughts on “If Yaesu designed an FT-818 replacement…what would you like to see?”
Stand USB cable interface
Built-in sound card.
Continued support of VHF/UHF bands.
Comme un xiegu x6100 avec une boîte d’accord intégré avec une option batterie renforcée pour émettre avec au moins 10, 15 watts et surtout HF, VHF, UHF comme l’icome 705.
Un vrai couteau suisse pour baroudeur.
I owned a 817ND and was quite happy with it. I would like to see a replacement with a longer life battery that is rechargeable while in the radio. Option for more that 1 filter. Built-in antenna tuner, 15-20 watts out adjustable.
Bluetooth functionality for speaker/headphones and microphone and if $ feasible, controls and software updates.
Would Yaesu be willing to change the footprint to look more like the IC705? That would seem to be the logical direction
Internal tuner with LiFePo battery and 20 watts
Not a big Yaesu guy despite having several FT90Rs (one in the car, one at the house, one from eBay because it was the only way to get a YSK-90 at the time) but I’ve always had my eye on this radio. But still bought an IC-705 because I *am* an Icom fanboy.
Given the love for these in the satellite community, I would say (as other have) keep 144/432 MHz but add a 2nd receiver so that sat ops don’t need to create “FT-1634” units.
I’d also say, make the damn display bigger! 😀
Otherwise, it’s a pretty good package, IMHO.
FT-705 😉 HF/6m, 2/70, two ant-connectors (switchable hf/ vuhf *or* separate rx for use at home/ on big ant.s) allmode, 10W-SDR, internal soundcard for the digi-fans, some 4..5″ display, no touch (field-radio!), no internal battery, but internal ATU active also on rx (as IC-703)
I would prefer FT818 but with 20w
All band all mode,built in tuner,built in battery but with a more useful power output.Modern filters,all the normal FT818 things but with a bit more power.I don’t think they would be able to build them fast enough!
For Pete’s sake a menu system from this century.
No idea of the accuracy of the story, but I have heard it said that Yaesu outsources the design of new radios with the result being that the menuing systems are often quite different between products … while Icom designs everything in-house which means that menuing systems are pretty similar, even between things like HTs and HF rigs. That’s changing over time at Icom though, as there are touchscreens these days, but I had no issue “learning” my IC-705 because I’ve had an IC-746Pro for 20 years. Mostly – admittedly I can never remember how to switch between Memory and VFO on the new radio. 🙂
The 857 has the same general menu system and both can be programmed by the same aftermarket G4HFQ FTBasic MMO software from personal experience. The help file says it will do the 897 series as well.
I agree with the feature set described by the author. One thing I don’t care about for Yaesu’s next generation field portable is a color touch screen display.
When I operate in the field, I navigate the frequency space primarily by listening or consuming spot data. I rarely choose a frequency by looking a spectrogram.
Your feature list is exactly what I would put together including dropping the ATU to keep it under $1000 if necessary.
You touched on it but I don’t think the widespread availability of the 818ND can be overlooked.
How long does it take to get a new KX2? You can generally get a TX-500 now if you’re willing to pay a fortune, but it still remains quite scarce in most of the world. And if either one is damaged or needs repair you’re looking at turnaround times measured in months.
So that’d be my other requirement: manufactured in huge numbers, available at the local HRO whenever I need one, backed by a major manufacturer’s parts and service network.
Along with (for the time it was introduced) a pretty broad feature set, what has set the 817/8 apart is the small form factor and the relative ruggedness of the design. I’d hate to see them go much bigger in size – rather, I’d like to see the advances in technology allow them to pack more into the same package. Too long a wish list and you start getting closer to a ruggedized KX2 with a price point to match, I’m afraid.
I wonder if some modularity might be possible, a base model with similar feature set to the current 818 but SDR filtering, better power consumption, etc., a modular option for internal battery or ATU (some want both, others put a premium on one of the other). The modularity aspect (battery, ATU, sound card, bluetooth and the like) would let folks add things they want in an integrated package and skip what they don’t, keeping costs down.
A little bigger than the 818, a little smaller than the 891, with the extra space available inside for plug and play add-ons not unlike what Elecraft has done with some features.
Like many things in life – it’s “wait and see” time.
I think the sweat spot for a new Yaesu is between the (tr)uSDX and IC-905. Make it tiny, make it light, make it power efficient (no colour waterfalls), make it general purpose (HF/VHF/UHF all mode), make it all you need (built-in ATU, batteries compatible with HTs), incorporate common FT-817/818 mods (filters, etc), and have a price point below $750.
I guess I’m looking for a shack-in-a-box the size and price of a decent HT that I can just plug in an antenna and get on the air.
If it were me, I would take your feature set, and box it in an FT-891 case/display. I would add good IF DSP and maybe the opportunity to add crystal filters (2 – one CW and one SSB). Not totally reinventing the wheel, that should keep the price sub $1,000, maybe $750-$800.
IF DSP does away with crystal filters. Crystal anything is on it’s way out, no need for electronics can handle it now. Yes a FT819 with FT891 features would be workable and still far less than $1000 dont you think as the FT891 100W rig is now. 73, ron, n9ee
I would like to see essentially the features of the FT-817/818 with these changes:
– Higher capacity LiFePO4 internal battery
– 10W Output
– Compressed Envelope SSB Mode (acts like 30-40W
– Internal ATU
– Any computer integration is done through USB-C
– More robust power connector
– Dust and water-resistant enclosure and controls
I would NOT want:
– Waterfall displays
– Hard-to-read color LCDs
Interesting question, I’ll start with what I added to, or attach to my 817….
– CW and SSB filters
– Speech compression
– Removable (hot swappable) battery pack
– Sound card (USB C)
Same rugged build, dual antenna connectors, but also add:
– Decent display, may be a flip up display, but switchable illuminations to save power
– Bandscope (similar to TX500)
– Improved weather protection
– Improved menu system
– HF, VHF and UHF
– Dual receiver
– Up to 10w out
– Really efficient
Not too much to ask of Yaesu…..
I one of the “old school “ of radio operators and have lived through the ease of an Heathkit AR3 and DX 40 days of poor receivers and easy dip and load transmitters (and a poorly made dipole) to my Elecraft addiction (I have every radio they made but a K4) with the multilayers of functionality with each timed press of a button or two. I still have my fully W4RT tricked out FT 817 with all the options that I could buy/build for it.
But, I love my new easy to use Penntek TR-35 and TR-45 radios with just switches and push buttons (and the new built in battery and tuner of the 45) and no layers of press this, hold that, that are getting more common on the newer computer controlled rigs. It does what I need it to do and does it well! And the audio and receiver are as good as any radio I have ever owned. I have and enjoy a uBitx v6 and all the fun of tinkering with programs and screens but when it comes to make a CW contact it’s my Penntek radios that I choose. Simply connect an antenna and a key ( sometimes headphones) and call CQ.
I think something like the simple Penntek rigs are a wonderful starter for a newbie who wants to do CW and maybe portable. They can graduate to more complicated rigs when they are ready. The two new hams I am Elmering still have their 7300s either in the box yet or sitting on the bench but they are afraid to use them for fear of damaging them. What a conundrum.
I like lightweight travel and Sota. For me IC-705 is too big, pretty and expensive to be taking backpack portable.
Small, light, affordable, easily available to purchase and sdr based with good CW filters.
The product child from a marriage of a ft-818 and a KX2. No waterfall display, just makes the product larger, heavier, consume more power, I want to carry it in a rucksack!
Atu nice to have – optional extra
I am a CW op and 2 features that would make the present FT818 replacement is tunable IF filters and a built in tuner. Maybe a sound card for the FT8 and digital ops. Then you have a G90 ($400) equivalent except for the internal battery. X6100 ($600) is next, but has large screen making for large radio although is made to be foot mobile if you like. Most of the suggested features is already on the market. SDR is a must these days, but IC705 is advanced tech with direct sampling, only QRP with it. IC705 is way ahead of the QRP rigs and also does DSTAR. If a FT818 replacement is to be had and make it competitive then it would need to have much more than the X6100 and par with the IC705. 73, ron, n9ee
1.2GHZ so I can talk to Icom 905 users
I think Yaesu had it right with the FT-897D, though with modern tech SDR and a flip-up LCD touch screen.
Low current draw
weather resistant at least
ease of use with accessories or include items like ATU and ease of use of a supplemental amplifier up to at least 50W
Screen that is easily readable by size and chosen display
10W but with CESSB, internal ATU, FT8/FT4. Size and weight approaching the KX2.
Well, it is great and fun to be able to read all the good comments here. I love it.
Well , here it is:
1- Continued support of VHF/UHF all modes.
2- Roofing filter like my xyl is using in her KX3
3- Internal 10:1 antenna tuner, like the KX2/3 or My IC-703.
When we have freezing rain , with a 10:1 tuner you are in business.
4- Higher capacity battery, yes if the current drain is between
100/150 Ma., AND SHOULD BE a LIfePO4.
5- Display: a NICE DISPLAY the size of Icom -703 or Elecraft
But no touch screen or waterfall , Dust and water resistant
improved wx protection.
That is about it, but, I like the comments of everybody, and especially the first David who said,
“SOME MODULARITY MIGHT BE POSSIBLE, Yes I love it it could gives the oportunity to have the accessories you need.
The second “DAVE WILCOX” :
I’m also one of the old school, ( 60 years of ham radio, this year)
I like very much the Penntek 45-L it does what I need, it looks solid simple nice switches VERY NICE looking, a Simple Tuner , with an internal battery (LIFEpo4 ??) and a nice display , and sure many other features , Im going to read the instruction manual and some videos.
One thing I would like is to add 15 meters, my favorite .
Have all a nice and prosperous 2023 year.
72/73 Mike VE2TH
Something in line with a Xeigu G90, a robust antenna tuner is a must.
Yaesu’s fasted path to market would be a QRP version of the FT-891; 20W max, with dramatically lower receive power consumption, and perhaps a capable internal ATU. It would be an amazing SOTA radio and 20x more durable than anything Elecraft makes.
I mean, the 891 is already a great SOTA radio, if you’re willing to carry 15 pounds of battery along.
I’m easy. Just put a better battery system in it, DSP filters, add a clock, and maybe bump it up to 10W.
There have been some good suggestions in the comments. So I will take a different approach.
Two things I wouldn’t want to see:
1. Yaesu using us as beta testers like Xiegu did with the X6100
2. Taking 9 months to fulfill orders like Elecraft.
I own an FT-818ND but for a short time. Love the size, the all mode. I have the wind camp after market battery which increases the life and a small 9 AH lithium battery is still manageable for QRP. Maybe just a little bigger screen for a few more display items but a less confusing menu (for the beginner or low time user). The auto tuner doubles the size of the package but is probably lighter than an internal tuner??? More sturdy that it looks. Keep the price down and it will sell.
I’ve had an 818 and I currently own a 705. As a “second radio” I’d like to see the Yaesu FT-819 (yes, keep the number sequence going) with…
My design would have 160-6 coverage. If Yaesu copied the form factor of the TX-500 plus an internal or clip-on battery, they would be close to the mark.
Reasonably priced clip-on accessories would allow the rig to be focused on the user. Thinking,
In any case, they need to benchmark the TX-500
I use my 817 daily and don’t want to see a new radio try to do too much so that it isn’t good at anything. I don’t need a panadapter in a portable radio but I would like to see Yaesu design a successor that has –
An ATU like the KX2
USB (preferably C)
Sound card like the DIgiRig
Internal Lithium battery pack with charging in the rig
same bands as the 818 currently has, don’t need 220 mhz or 1.2
10 watts output would be nice
Better quality internal speaker
I like the 818’s size and shape and don’t want it to grow as large as the 705 or be a fiddly as the KX2, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
US weather band
Bluetooth would be nice
SDR based with digital filtering like the 705
I’d honestly like to see another mobile radio using SDR technology. I don’t see why we can’t have a radio the size of the 818 but with a detachable faceplate. 80-10 meteres with VHF/UHF. Like the old FT-857, I’d be happy with 20 watts on HF and 50 on UHF/VHF An ATU would be nice, but probably not necessary. Internal Lifepo4 would be awesome! It doesn’t have to be a mobile only radio but a good option if needed, oh and of course ATAS-120 capability. If you’re going to dream….dream big (well not too big, this is QRPer)!
Here would be my “advice” to Yaesu (LOL):
Forget you ever built the 817/818. It was great when it came out (I bought one as soon as it was released and was happy to get it), but’s it’s not relevant to new designs these days.
WHAT IT DOESN’T NEED:
Heroic build quality/waterproof-iness (resistant?). We learned this from the TX-500. As folks who have left them out in the rain found out, at best it is water resistant. So are humans, you still don’t leave them out in the rain without protection. Penalty? Large, funky connectors/wires that end up sticking out both ends like octopus tentacles and no internal speaker so that even if CW is your intention, you still need the microphone hooked up. Even if you opt for Headphones/IEM’s, you still need a tentacle sticking out to use them. Plastic display cover is a source of vulnerability despite the otherwise strong build quality.
Bottom line: you need to be careful to take care of your radios, even the TX-500. Bring waterproof sleeve, don’t slam the radio around, don’t scratch it up. Remember, any of us may be the next owner 🙂
VHF/UHF. It’s a lot of resources devoted for little return for most. I have a Yaesu VX-2 HT that is TINY and does what you need for casual outside FM operation and is far more convenient for the purpose. Cheap, and you can monitor FM while on HF. If you are a died in the wool VHF/UHF guy, buy an IC-705, an IC-9700 or perhaps the new IC-905. Someone making a VHF/UHF multimode HT would be nice…
Crystal/Mechanical filters. Still used in attempts at current state of the art RX (FTDX-101D, etc), not needed in miniature DSP based radios.
GPS not necessary. CW decoder not needed, they don’t work that well and people just kvetch about them. Face it, you can either operate CW or you can’t.
WHAT IT DOES NEED:
As small size as is compatible with requirements (705 is nice, but too big and a bit awkward). Try and keep price as low as is compatible with a quality product. Doesn’t need to be cheap-cheap.
Internal tuner, internal battery (chargeable without removal or removable without radio disassembly like the 705 battery), internal speaker (as good as rig size and current draw allow). Think, radio sits on charger, then grab and go.
Included rubbery/fiber-ish water resistant pouch purpose built to protect just the radio (no accessories) without taking up much extra space in your pack.
Spectrum display. Not having a display these days is like only clearing a circle of frost from your windshield, you have no idea what is going on around you.
“Front panel” should be on the large face of the radio, like the x6100 or KX-2. Mic, keyer and headphone jack should be convenient to the operator. Internal mic would be a good thing, external mic should be small. Broadcasters uses tiny “lavalier” mics for broadcast quality sound, so there’s no excuse for a mic almost as big as the radio. I built a mic using a small mic element in a modified BIC pen cap with a tiny micro switch for PTT, so if I can do it…
USB port with internal soundcard for one cable Digital mode operation and internal battery charge ability (for when AC power or 12vDC is not available).
The most logical mode for QRP operating being CW, keying and antenna switching should work right, RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX, not after a few firmware updates.
WHAT WE WON’T GET BUT SHOULD:
RX Out/In ports. This allows for external Receive antennas and in-line receive filters. This is already a problem, but as time goes on and more and more wireless devices, high power switching power supplies (grow lights, electric car chargers, and whole home battery backup equipment) and switching wall warts continue to proliferate, dedicated purpose RX antennas may be critical to our ability to operate. Having problems with AM/FM or other local high-power transmitters (BCI)? RX Out/in ports allow external filters to be added without them having to be able to pass TX power through. These could be small SMA connectors and bypassable through menu setting.
SD card slot for recording receive audio and easy firmware updates.
This is off the top of my head and just my opinion. I hope Yaesu follows up with whatever they decide. As I think about it, a X6100ish radio with less heat, better firmware, a bit better receiver front end, some of the ideas I (and others) have proposed and slicked up operation in general would be very intriguing. Around $1k? I’m in!
73, Kevin K3OX
I loved my VX-2 but after years of constant use the labeling all wore off, the final straw was the display starting to fail.
I have a family member that worked many years for Yaesu “back in the day” and he liked the VX-2 as well, apparently there just wasn’t enough of a market for it back then to make it profitable to continue manufacturing. I’d love to see, as much as I’m not a fan of Yaesu off-shoring its manufacturing to China, a revival of that style of uber-small HT that could be made more economically now. They do it with mass-produced good quality HTs like the FT-4X so I don’t see why a new-generation VX-2 couldn’t be produced.
I still have a VX-3 and love it. I keep thinking about selling it but there is nothing else like it so I just hang on to it.
I still have my original FT-60 and at 10+ years old it still works well. Some guy was selling one at the club meeting last Tuesday and I I had any cash on me I would have bought it as he was asking $40 for it. Yaesu has made some great radios over the years and I own several of their HTs and a FT-1900 but no HF radios from them at the moment.
I’d like to see a mashup of the IC-703 and FT818 housed in an FT891 style package
20w would be nice
USB-C and sound card essential
Tuner not required
Waterfall not required
I was ready to purchase an FT818. Alas, it was discontinued. I had rationalized its shortcomings, but find the VHF/UHF multimode component perhaps a most compelling feature particularly at the price. Hence, I will continue to use my ancient FT290R for VHF portable. The ability to add components, such as a CW filter, keeps introductory cost low and allows for improvements as one’s skill and finances permit. But, those components need to made available. Certainly, a Lifepo4 battery would be desirable. Now, if the FT891 was made low power, with VHF/UHF, and at its current price, we might have the underpinnings for a reasonable FT818 successor.
I own FT817ND with bhi DSP Noice Cancellation module as add-on. And it’s almost perfect QRP radio to me. Almost. What I would wish from the next gen Yeasu QRP radio is:
– Keep all bands of FT818 and add more missing in between. If possible even 1,3 GHz on top
– RX power consumption on par with IC-705
– Much more powerfull and lighter internal battery with Quick charge+operation via USB-C
– Build-in WiFi and Bluetooth compatible with any standard headset in the world
– Build-in GPS (GNSS) and a bunch of digital modes
– 10W of TX power would be nice, too.
And what about display you may ask? Dump it! Black, rugged, weatherproof box with enough connector and reliable App for your smartphone and PC with all SDR/Panadapter bells and whistles would please me more than a build-in one. These days we all carry high grade touch displays in our pockets and on SOTA/POTA anyway!
I’ve thought the same about the touchscreen on current rigs. I would want to have a minimal display on the radio though, enough so you could operate without a phone.
Something like the KX 2 with SSB/CW on HF only. Better water resistant, atu and battery. Dsp filtering. Don’t need a waterfall or touch screen. Simple large b&w LCD. Basic SDR with low current drain since sdr is the current design for modern radios. Not opposed to analog with dds if the price is reasonable but I doubt that will happen except for lower end single or dual band cw radios.
no waterfall !
better internal battery
same cw keyer as the 817/8
with iq output
full duplex v/uhf
I miss my FT-817ND, but the one feature that I found inexplicably missing for a backpack portable radio was the ability to receive WX band.
If I’m going to go to the trouble of carrying that much weight into the backcountry, I sure as heck don’t want to also have to bring a second radio just to pick up WX.
I am fascinated by the results of this informal “poll”. It’s interesting how needs differ from person to person and over time.
Over the years, I have asked FT-817 owners at hamfests, club meetings etc. out of curiosity if they used the VHF/UHF feature and their answers ranged from: “No” to “rarely” with only a few “often”. I asked one guy who I knew who was an avid VHF/UHF contester/rover type if he used his 817 in his portable operations. His answer was yes, but only as an HF exciter for transverters and amplifiers because the 817 wasn’t really suitable for weak signal work.
But the thread here shows a lot of support for VHF/UHF inclusion, much more than I expected. My suspicion is that SOTA/POTA/VOTA has sparked this interest in low profile VHF/UHF possibilities due to the “getting out and doing it” aspect of these operations being much more important than the sheer volume of contacts. Think process and fun over results. Which, in my view, is why these activities have, rightly, become so popular.
On the other hand, folks seem ready to jettison Spectrum Displays. Since radios routinely started to include this feature, I feel like I am flying blind without a spectrum display. I guess I am an outlier in this.
73, Kevin K3OX
USB C charging and for sound card, at least 2x USB C ports. One for charging and one for digi modes at the same time.
Fast charging tech. It’s all there and available, Li batteries today are excellent and there is no reason a radio can’t charge fully in 30-50 mins. My 8.4 AH Turnigy LiFeP04 battery I could charge at 15 amps on an RC charger. It doesn’t have to be that fast but you get the picture and 15 amps is nothing compared to the best Li tech today but the BMS is usually a limitation, I didn’t use a BMS as I know how to handle LiFeP04 and LiPo with no BMS. I would never keep LiPo lying around the house unless in a fireproof pouch in a fireproof location. LiFeP04 is perfectly safe.
For the money the IC-705 battery is a joke, 7.5 volts is disgraceful today. There is no reason Icom could not stick in a proper 12v battery, a 4S LiFeP04 outputs the perfect voltage for Ham gear.
Need to keep cost down and have options like the Elecraft KX2 and Kx3, optional tuner, optional 2m and 70 cm etc. One of the greatest turn offs of the 705 is that it’s too expensive, with features I do not want and would never use.
I had the Xiegu X5105 and it really was a great QRP rig, had all I needed and was remarkably compact, it could fit in the pouch of a Tecsun PL-660. Built in tuner, though I rarely used/needed it and it had a proper 12v Li battery that I could use for several hrs on SSB at 5 Watts, it had a Built in MIC that was convenient and also an SWR analyser.
If Yaesu do come up with a new QRP radio I do hope it’s not an SDR. Don’t need fancy screen and waterfall in the field, just want something simple that performs well and has a proper 12v battery that lasts a decent amount of time, suitable for 2023+ In fact, I’m considering a QRP rig again and if yaesu don’t release an up to date QRP radio by the Summer I may definitely consider a Xiegu X5105 again. One thing that turns me off the 818 is that it can’t output 5 watts using the internal battery, as I said, in this day and age this is not acceptable, at the very least the 818 should have been updated with 12v Lithium. If I have to carry external battery I might as well just use my 891 and at least have the 100 W if I need it.
Lol, the 818 and 817 both can do 5w with the internal battery. When the 2.5w power indicator on the screen is set to flash its at 5 watts. Your “biggest” disappointment was fictional.
Larger and brighter display for pota
Built in tuner for simple hook up
North tooth mics and speakers
Larger go bag for any other add on equipment
Built in starlink interface